When most children are granted a wish from the Children’s Wish Foundation, they chose a trip to Disney World or a visit from a celebrity.
When Evan Simms’ was told he would be given a wish in November 2013, he immediately asked for a telescope.
“Just a telescope?” his parents Jamie and Cheryl Simms said. They actually told the foundation to wait on granting Evan’s wish so that they could sit down and really explain to their son what was happening.
Still, all Evan really wanted a telescope so that he could look at the stars.
“Science was really what Evan was interested in most of all, it held a very special place in his heart,” said Jamie Simms.
The Simms family credits the Children’s Wish Foundation for distracting their family from the treatment that their sick five-year-old was going through.
“They don’t just give you a wish and say ‘here you go, have a good day’,” said Simms.
They even named a star after Evan, the one rides on the back of Scorpios for all of eternity.
“Evan wanted to see the things in the night sky for himself,” said Simms. “Not only did he want to see the night sky for himself, he wanted to share them with anyone who wanted to learn.”
Evan passed away in February 2013 from a long battle with cancer.
Each year, the event management program hosts two charitable campaigns supporting their fundraising goal of $1 million for the Children’s Wish Foundation. So far, the students have raised over $850,000 and hope to reach their goal with the winter 2016 campaign.
The events run from March 3 to April 8. Each event is planned and implemented from start to finish by event management student teams and organized with a budget of $0.
A Night Under the Stars: What’s Your Sign? Took place on March 23 at the Centurion Conference and Event Center.
The event featured psychic, mediumship, and tarot card readers. As well as a three course dinner, a silent auction and a performance by illusionist Chris Pilsworth.
The organizers behind the event were graduating students Erica Saikaley, Bria Sherman, Briegh Grant, Alyssa Parks and Shirley Wang. The theme of their event honoured Evan and his wish.
“It’s no surprise whatsoever that this event is a huge success.” said Caron Fitzpatrick, teacher for the event management students. “Everything that happened here, they earned. They were a great team, they got along together well and it is no surprise that they pulled off a very successful event.”
Fitzpatrick said that she can’t comment on whether or not the group has managed to reach their million dollar goal yet, but that the information will be released mid-April.
At the end of the night, the group raised star wands and made a group “wish” for the children in need that benefit from the funds raised for the Children’s Wish Foundation, just like Evan.
Evan is not only remembered in the stars in the sky, but his telescope also continues to travel and teach people about the stars as well.
“Just before he passed away, Evan asked if I would continue to take his telescope and show the stars to people who wanted to see them,” said Simms.
Evan’s father continues to bring his telescope to cubs and beavers meetings in the Ottawa area to teach other children about the stars like Evan used to.